Imagine a film with a love story that inspires the protagonist to say "You ever feel like when you met someone, they fill this hole inside of you, and then, when they're gone, you feel that space painfully vacant?" (and another protagonist to say "When I saw you that night, I had the feeling that I had known you. Actually, I felt like you knew me"). And one that at the same time details and questions different types of scientific discovery against a spiritual or religious context. All this with superb performances from the actors, beautiful cinematography, an explosively emotional script and a multi-national setting.
This is what Mike Cahill gives us with I Origins. Released last year, I Origins is the story of how molecular scientist Ian Gray's (Michael Pitt) life is changed by a 'chance' meeting with Argentinian model Sofi (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey). While he conducts epoch-defining research with his brilliant lab partner Karen (Brit Marling), meeting and falling in love with the enigmatic Sofi results in both scientists coming across a theory neither thought they would ever believe in.
The synopsis I have given doesn't really do the film justice though. It's not just an interesting plot that makes Cahill's feature so incredible – the perfectly balanced way it emotes whilst probing human experience of life on earth, the human brain and the science of evolution is subtle but extraordinary. I came away from it feeling shocked, sad, uplifted and enlightened – it's rare for a film to do that.
I urge anybody with an interest in spirituality and what life and unexpected adventures can offer us to watch I Origins. And I think everybody else should as well – if only to peak their interest in those things. Aside from the more meta aspects of the film, it is just an extraordinarily moving experience of human love (and how enduring it is) and the impact a single person can have on a life. Beautiful stuff.
If you like this, why not try:
• Film: La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)
• A private screening at 20th Century Flicks